A new multi-million dollar casino is set to open its doors in southwest Washington on Monday.

La Center was buzzing Sunday afternoon, as much of the community anxiously waited.

“I’m trying to be optimistic,” said one resident.

Optimistic about the grand opening of Ilani, a more than $500 million casino, located a couple miles up the road off Interstate 5.

The Cowlitz Indian Tribe is behind the more than 300,000-square-foot casino. It has a handful of restaurants, shops, and a large gaming floor.

The tribe faced some setbacks along the way, like pushback from much smaller casinos in La Center.

“Probably will reduce the amount they make that’s for sure because most people will be up there,” said Rick Pettit.

Some people in La Center said they have a list of other concerns, too.

“The traffic is going to be horrible up there,” said one resident.

Another resident added, “I think people come to casinos and they might consume too much alcohol and I’m just worried about people driving under the influence and things like that.”

But with their worries, also comes excitement.

“I’m thinking we might get some good concerts and restaurants,” said Pettit.

“Excited about it,” said John Cooper. “I wish I didn’t have to work, I’d be at the casino.”

In the end, they said anyone is welcome in or near La Center, under one condition.

“I love this town and I don’t want it to change,” said Tom Wooldridge.

Ilani opens its doors at 10 a.m. on Monday.

Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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